Aberdare, Cynon Valley

This unsuccessful mine was opened in 1869 by D. & R. Rees but unfortunately, Mr. D. Rees fell down the shaft in 1871 and was killed.

The Bevan brothers, Rees and David, lived at Hirwaun, Rees kept a grocer’s and draper’s shop on High Street, while David kept a public House and ran a cabinet making business. Between them, they sank this colliery hoping to cash in on the coal boom of the times, as described later, David was killed by his own dream, his widow, Gwen, who lived on Brecon Road, Hirwaun and later remarried a Scourfield( both buried in Penderyn Churchyard) but the many children moved, probably to the Swansea area.

It was then worked by Rees Bevan who ran it until 1878. In 1879 it was taken over by F. Render who formed the Fforchneol Colliery and Brickworks Company in 1885. It was sold to the Graig Coal & Brickworks Company in 1889 subtitled Crown Colliery.

It closed in 1891.

Its life may have been short due to the failure to find coal seams free from geological disturbances, but it was certainly eventful:

  • On the 30th of November 1874, J. Lewis, aged 48 years, and a collier died under a fall of roof.
  • In March 1875, the manager, Rees Bevan, was summoned for allowing a boy, under the age of twelve years, to work underground contrary to the mines act. Bevan tried to wriggle out of it by claiming that it was the fault of the person that he had appointed to enforce the rules. However, the judge would have none of that and fined him £10 plus costs.
  • On the 25th of February 1879, William Benyon, aged 30 years, and a collier, was killed in an explosion of gas. In March 1879 this occurred.

Infringement of colliery rules at Aberdare:

At Aberdare police court, on Tuesday (before the Stipendiary and other magistrates) a collier named John Whitely, working at the Fforchneol Colliery (at which one or two accidents have lately occurred), was summoned for a violation of the 8th general rule of the Mines Regulation Act

Mr. Simons appeared in support of the summons, and Whitely was defended by Mr. T. Phillips.

The charge against the defendant was that a short time since he was engaged in driving a little drift from a heading into an old working to obtain ventilation, and it was necessary to cut through a hard portion of ground and to enable this to be done gunpowder had to be used. In accordance with the provisions of the Mines Regulation Act, the defendant was appointed the person to fire the shots. When the hard heading was cut through and the coal reached, the permission for the defendant to use gunpowder was withdrawn as the men were working in the direction of some old workings which might contain explosive gas.

In violation of this direction, however, it was alleged that the defendant continued to use gunpowder and he was in consequence summoned.

It appeared that it was only discovered that the defendant continued to use gunpowder after the permission to do so was withdrawn, in consequence, of an accident caused by an explosion of one of the shots, which had not been properly rammed home. After hearing the whole case, the Bench fined the defendant £2 and costs.

On the 13th of July 1880, John Thomas, aged 40 years, and a collier died under a fall of roof.

Western Mail 30th of December 1880:

On Tuesday last Mr. Thomas Williams, deputy coroner, held an inquest at the Globe Inn, Cwmaman, Aberdare, touching the death of David Richards, overman of the Fforchneol Colliery, Cwmaman, who met with a frightful death at the colliery on Christmas Day. It appeared that the engineman at the colliery (Jonah Thomas) went from home on Christmas morning. Later in the day two boys, employed at a pumping engine underground, came to the top of the pit with the intention of descending to their duties; but not finding anyone there to let them down, one of the lads, whose name is David Davies, proceeded to the house of the overman. He there found the overman and the engineman drinking rum, and they gave some to the boy. They then proceeded together towards the top of the pit. Here the engineman set the engine in motion. But instead of sending the cage down, he caused it to dash against the machinery above, and so violent was the contact that a portion of one of the wheels above broke away.

The cage was then returned into position, and the overman and the boy who had partaken of the rum (David Davies) stepped upon it. The other lad declined to join them. The engine was set in motion at a terrific speed, even faster than the cage descended, for the slack coiled about the pit. The ascending cage came into violent contact with the one descending, and the overman disappeared from the latter. The boy, however, clung fast to the rods of the cage, and in that way he reached the bottom, the body of the overman struck against the top of the cage with a horrible thud. The depth of the pit is 105 yards. It is supposed that the unfortunate overman fell against the ascending cage, in the middle of the shaft, where the two cages pass each other, and that he clung to it until he was compelled to let go his hold.

The inquest jury convicted Jonah Thomas of manslaughter and he was committed for the Assize, although we cannot find the result of his trial, however, at Merthyr Tydfil court on May 16th 1883, a Jonah Thomas, engineman, of Cwmaman was sentenced to one month’s hard labour for deserting his wife and children.


Aberdare, Cynon Valley

The only listing that I can find for this mine is in 1923 when it was owned by the Fforchneol Graig Colliery Company and employed 16 men working underground and 6 men working at the surface. It employed twelve men when it was abandoned in 1924.


Cwmaman, Cynon Valley (98809945)

The sinking of this colliery commenced in 1850 but was abandoned after 60 yards. The pit was then re-opened by the Cwmaman Coal Company and the sinking was completed to the Four-Feet seam at a depth of 360 yards in 1897. Production started in 1900. In 1908 it employed 772 men underground and 98 men on the surface with the manager being R.R. Davies.

The colliery remained in the hands of the Cwmaman Company until the early 1930s when it was purchased by the Bwllfa and Cwmaman Collieries Limited of Aberdare House, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff whose chairman was Sir D.R. Llewellyn. The colliery was then merged with the Trewen and Cwmaman pits who in 1934 employing 200 men on the surface and 1,670 men underground producing 500,000 tons of coal. It had its own coal preparation plant. In 1938 there were only 11 men underground and 16 men on the surface.

It was not worked by the National Coal Board following Nationalisation in 1947.

Some statistics:

  • 1899: Manpower: 172.
  • 1900: Manpower: 187.
  • 1901: Manpower: 189.
  • 1902: Manpower: 301.
  • 1903: Manpower: 360.
  • 1905: Manpower: 675.
  • 1907: Manpower: 800.
  • 1908: Manpower: 870.
  • 1909: Manpower: 870.
  • 1910: Manpower: 1,050.
  • 1911: Manpower: 1,043.
  • 1912: Manpower: 1,110.
  • 1913: Manpower: 1,160.
  • 1916: Manpower: 1,100.
  • 1918: Manpower: 1,846.
  • 1920: Manpower: 1,200.
  • 1923: Manpower: 752.
  • 1924: Manpower: 1,200.
  • 1925: Manpower: 1,000.
  • 1927: Manpower: 1,338.
  • 1928: Manpower: 873.
  • 1930: Manpower: 514.
  • 1933: Manpower: 232.
  • 1934: Manpower: 113.
  • 1937: Manpower: 28.
  • 1938: Manpower: 27.



It was also known also as “Gwdi – Hw” and was opened in 1865 by James Kenway & Sons. It worked the No. 2 Rhondda seam until its closure in 1901.


Cwmaman, Cynon Valley

The single 20 feet in diameter shaft was sunk by the Cwmaman Coal Company Limited between 1910 and 1912 to the Seven-Feet seam at a depth of 374 yards. In 1923 it employed 104 men working underground and 4? men at the surface of the mine. W. Jones was the manager and in

1925 it employed 170 men. In 1927 it employed 170 men with William Jones still as the manager. In 1930 D.T. Jones was the manager and it employed 173 men and in 1932 it employed 170 men. It was later used as an upcast ventilation shaft for the Cwmaman and Fforchwen Collieries.


Information supplied by Ray Lawrence and reproduced here with his permission.

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